Monday, October 5, 2009

Of Bicycles and Printers

Bicycles and Printers? It's a parable, so humor me.

I ride a Trek 7.5 Fx Hybrid mountain bike. When I bought it in 2007, it cost $700 and it had Shimano Deore derailleurs, which are the lower end of Shimano's component sets. Although I have a great deal of experience adjusting bicycle components, I had many drivetrain problems - gears skipping, ghost shifting, low gears overshifted, high gears undershifted. No amount of adjustment left me a with stable, reliable ride.

Last weekend, I replaced the Deore components with Shimano XT, a higher end product. The difference between Deore and XT for my bike was about $100.00 or 15% of the cost of the bike. The new components worked perfectly and since I started using XT, I've not had a flawed shift or any adjustment problems. When I bought the bike, I would have happily paid 15% more to get a bike with a problem free drivetrain. The Deore components are now in the Wellesley Recycling Center and I'm a happy Shimano XT user.

And now, the analogy. At home, I've always used Inkjet printers such as the HP K550 and HP K5400 Pro. I spent very little buying these printers but filled them with expensive cartridges. HP printer drivers seem to have one purpose in life - to tell you to order new supplies. Each year the inkjet print heads fail and no amount of head cleaning/alignment can revive them. Since the cost of print head supplies exceeds the cost of the printer, I just replace the printer yearly. It seems that the lifecycle of a printer model is about a year, so I cannot even replace the printer with a similar model. Often that means that existing cartridges are no longer usable in the new model.

This weekend, I decided to get off the inkjet revolving door. I will never use an inkjet printer again because they are not eco-friendly, not cost effective, not easily maintainable, not reliable, and have poor life cycle management.

At BIDMC our printer lifecycle is 7 years with the following equipment

Color Laser
HP Color LJ4700N (Departmental)
HP Color LJ CP3525N (Work Group)
HP Color LJ CP1215 ((Single)

Black and White
HP LJ p4015N/TN (Departmental)
HP LJ p2055DN/X (Work Group)
HP LJ p2035N (Two-person)

I purchased an HP P2035N black and white laser printer at Staples and turned in my inkjet for recycling, getting $50 cash back. Yes, this printer costs a bit more up front, but it has the reliability, cost effectiveness, and life cycle management I need.

Just as with my bike, buying the right parts the first time to meet your requirements is the right thing to do.

I now have a small laser printer on my home network and not a single inkjet cartridge left in the house.


Bernz said...

Laser Printers are more affordable (short-term and long-term) than people have been deluded into thinking. I'm all about lasers. There's a reason why insidious spam (which I rarely receive anymore) is often of three categories: porn, the growth of my nether regions and cheap jet cartridges. The inkjet/deskjet game is as bad as spam.

As for bikes, I bike in Boston just like the doctor. I find myself shifting up and down quite a bit because of the terrain which can go from flat or gentle downhills to steep uphills very quickly. Given traffic, you can't always have momentum on your side, so shifting is a man's best friend. I ride Specialized bikes and usually buy the bike that has the XT or XTR system already. Always worth it. It's not your crossbar or fork that's going to make your life miserable, it's your gears. Get the good ones.

magicolor 5450 said...

This printer is the "Big Brother" to the magicolor 2400. Mostly used in network environments for the higher end or higher volume printing users. Cartridges contain a developer that needs to mix within the toner during the print process and has proven technically challenging for toner cartridge remanufacturers. A reliable product matching the Original product is being offered by Printer Cartridge Supplies Ltd

Keith W. Boone said...

In 1992 I moved to Boston with an HP LaserJet Series II printer. At the time it was seven years old. In 1998 I donated it to my church in Boston. It's still in use today. On the home front, I wish I'd never given it away.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, my old HP 970 cse inkjet just keeps chugging along. I use the large capacity cartidges and have a two-sided printing module installed. It has given me years of great service and I figure will go years more.

Will Snow said...

I switched to a Xerox Phaser 8560 with solid ink for the same reason; and I happily live with the smell of melting crayons :)

My long series of epson printers are now living with friends, and I add ink blocks about every 9 months instead of every 3 weeks!

Peter Bachman said...

Having had an very noisy Apple laser, I kind of like my HP Inkjet, but the cost of the cartridge 3pack would make King Gillette smile. It does just about make enough sense to throw away the printer once the ink runs out.

Now I know why my Trek Hybrid keeps skipping gears, makes sense. As a nation we are all about a chicken in every pot, instead of waiting on quality.

3110cn said...

popular full colour laser printer , which was sold for around £ 250.00 however the cost of the original Dell cartridges is very high. The HY ( highyield) toner cartridges are capable of printing 8000 pages for the c/m/y and 9000 pages for the black. This printer is based on a Fuji Xerox print engine and batched by Dell - but all cartridges contain a printer specific chip and are only usable in that particular brand.

Saurabh Sinha said...

Did this routine about a year ago and it works just like you mention. In my case, I use a wi-fi enabled Brother Laser printer so my wife and I can both print to it from any part of the house.

My wife and I read a lot. Reading off the paper (as opposed to computer screen) is a relief for our tired eyes. We are able to now print slightly larger articles (4-10 pages) quickly, read it, use clean side for next print and finally I take a load each month to work and recycle. :)

Anonymous said...

A mono laser is by far the best option but be careful laser colour printer cartridges are expensive to run. manufacturers sell the printers below cost and catch the customer on the consumables. If you think an ink cartridge is expensive you want to buy a colour toner.